From Ray Hair, AFM President, March 27, 2020:

Legislation that will extend unemployment benefits to those who rely on contract work and freelance jobs just passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The third Coronavirus (COVID-19) relief package already passed the U.S. Senate and now heads to the president’s desk for his signature.

We will share information about how to access the expanded benefits as more details become available, but highlights of the relief package for musicians include:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

• Temporary 39-week program to provide payment to freelancers, gig workers, and others not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19 emergency.

• The minimum benefit equals one-half of your state’s average weekly unemployment benefit plus $600.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

• Additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance for employee-classified workers who have exhausted or will exhaust state unemployment benefits.

• Provides an additional $600 per week for anyone receiving regular state unemployment insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

2020 Recovery Rebates

• This is a one-time cash benefit to households of $1,200 per adult ($2,400 per couple) and $500 per child.

• People earning $75,000 ($150,000 jointly) or less will receive the full amount. This phases-out for people earning more than $99,000 ($198,000 jointly) with no children.

Arts Funding

• $150 million to state agencies to provide grants and support to arts organizations.

• $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $75 million for the National Endowment of the Humanities.

• $75 million for the the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) which supports PBS and NPR.

I am so proud of all the union musicians who made calls, sent emails, and tweeted to reach their elected officials. Gig worker benefits were not included in this legislation until lawmakers received your calls, emails, and tweets. Never forget that musicians standing together have power!

In Unity,

Ray Hair

AFM International President